Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

Holy Bat-geeks, Batman!

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

I only thought I was a geek.

Someone made sorting algorithms audible – so you can listen to them:

And this guy might be worse – he wrote a song about sorting!
Sung to the tune of Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler:

With all those random pivots, you’re gonna need to be quite lucky.
He said, “You might call it gamblin’, but to me it’s n-log-n”

A Son Born on a Tuesday

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I have two children, one of whom is a son born on a Tuesday. What is the probability that I have two boys?

Would you believe 0.481481481… (or, more accurately and informatively, 13/27)?

This problem has easier roots in the famous Two Child Problem, originally phrased thusly:

  • Mr. Jones has two children. The older child is a girl. What is the probability that both children are girls?
  • Mr. Smith has two children. At least one of them is a boy. What is the probability that both children are boys?

The answer to the first is 1/2.  The answer to the second is traditionally 1/3, though it can be 1/2 depending on how you found out one child is a boy.

The fact that one of my children was born on a Tuesday is actually germane to the problem.  You can see the full solution and some history here.   The article points out that your intuition is likely to be correct in real life where you would know why something like Tuesday is included, but math puzzles like this are designed to eliminate that knowledge.

Do not “Reply All”

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Ever since the dawn of email, there have been issues with email distribution lists and users who do not understand the difference between reply and reply-to-all (‘r’ vs. ‘R’ in the old days) .  It is always amusing to watch an incident unfold, because it’s always the same – the ‘stop replying to all’ traffic so quickly outpaces the ‘reply to all’ traffic.

Flowing Data visualized an incident thus:

Hitler learns a painful lesson about Cloud Computing security

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I work on a product line strongly focused on security implications of virtual environments – virtual machines with virtualized storage on virtual networks.  Cloud computing is an extreme example of this.

That said, I can’t believe we didn’t make this (and I wouldn’t be shocked to find out this is an underground viral marketing ploy…)
Thanks to Bruce Schneier for the pointer.